#missingkids | Fundraising launched for girl abducted from Kmart and assaulted

The family of a seven-year-old girl who was abducted from a Kmart store and sexually assaulted have started a fundraising page to help her with “a lifetime of recovery” from the trauma she experienced at the hands of a paedophile.

On December 8 last year, the young girl was looking at toys in North Lakes Kmart, north of Brisbane, when she was lured away from her mother by 27-year-old father of two, Sterling Mervyn Free.

He led her from the shopping centre, molested her in bushland and dropped her back to the centre more than an hour later.

CCTV captured Free loitering around the toy aisle for 20 minutes before he chose his victim and led her out of sight.

In October this year, Free pled guilty to the abduction and assault, and was sentenced to eight years in prison, with the possibility of parole in two years.

CCTV footage shows Sterling Mervyn Free leading the girl from Kmart. Source: Nine News

The GoFundMe page for the ‘Kmart kidnapping victim’ was started by a family member identified only as Karen, and described the sentence as too lenient.

“The sentence the perpetrator received was highly inadequate and showed little regard for the little girl’s well being, now and in the future,” the GoFundMe page for the girl read.

During the sentence hearing crown prosecutor Judy Geary labelled Free’s actions as brazen, determined, deliberate and predatory.

The incident has had a “significant impact” on the girl, Ms Geary said.

Convicted paedophile Sterling Mervyn Free, 27, pictured holding two babies, will be eligible for parole in two years. Source: Supplied

The fundraising page is aiming to raise $20,000 to “make sure she gets all of the assistance she needs in the future, whatever those needs may be”.

At the time of publication over $1000 had been pledged.

Karen said money raised would be held in a trust account that can be accessed “when needed over the coming years”.

“This beautiful, tiny girl has a lifetime of recovery from trauma ahead of her and deserves to be compensated for her ordeal,” Karen said.

– With AAP

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